Prior to Thursday’s NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons, the league introduced this year’s Canton inductees.
Among them was Ravens great Ed Reed, who won a Super Bowl and earned nine Pro Bowl berths during his time in Baltimore.
While other inductees like Ty Law, Champ Bailey, and Tony Gonzalez wore dark polos emblazoned with the Pro Football Hall of Fame logo, Ed Reed opted to make a statement.
He wore a white T-shirt with images of people who had died during interactions with police including Michael Brown and Tamir Rice as well as Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old shot and killed while walking unarmed in a Florida neighborhood in 2012.
Reed wore the shirt while being interviewed in-game by NBC’s Michelle Tafoya. His shirt did not come up during the discussion, but his statement was clear.
Ed Reed never, ever forgets
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) August 2, 2019
Some of the images on the shirt, featuring nine images in total, included Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and others.
Reed’s t-shirt served as a powerful reminder of the platform that athletes, current and former, can use to call attention to the social issues of the day.
Reed made his statement without making an interception or a ball-jarring hit, he simply let his actions do the talking, and that is something that can not and should not be ignored. For the record, since he is no longer in the league, no action or repercussions will take place.